I used to read all the time when I was a kid. The older I’ve become and the more distractions I’ve added to my life, the worse I’ve become taking time to read. This year, I’ve made progress in taking the time to read for enjoyment again. Some of these books have been published for decades. Therefore, these are not necessarily books published in 2016. Instead, these are my top 5 books I’ve read in 2016.
1. Inferno (2013) – Dan Brown
Inferno is the fourth book in the Langdon series. Most are familiar with his controversial Da Vinci Code also made into a movie of the same name. Da Vinci Code is the most religiously controversial book in the series. Inferno might surpass it in controversy, but for other reasons than religion.
It becomes known that the world is in danger of having a virus being released that could decimate the human population. The virus is created by a man that holds the extreme view that humans are a plague upon the earth. High human populations are destroying the earth, and this needs to at least be reduced.
If you’ve read Brown’s books before, then you’re familiar with the style and plot development. A crisis comes about, blues are left behind, and Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbology expert, is commissioned to decipher these clues to prevent any further crises. In Inferno, Langdon suffers from amnesia, a major blow to his eidetic memory, causing him to not remember why he is in Italy or the crisis he is trying to help prevent.
This is probably my favorite book in the series. Brown draws on Dante’s Inferno and science to develop and build the plot of his Inferno. I look forward to viewing the film of the same name starring Tom Hanks, and hopefully, it will do the novel justice. The mystery and history portrayed throughout Brown’s novels are what keep drawing me to read them, and Inferno does not disappoint.
2. A Game of Thrones (1996) – George R. R. Martin
The HBO series, Game of Thrones, has helped to make this book and the series popular. If you’ve enjoyed the HBO series, then you will enjoy the book as well. Filled with knights, kings, ancient myths, dragons, and conspiracies, A Game of Thrones keeps the reader enthralled in the story. You can read more about what I have to say about it in my review.
3. Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (3rd Ed. 2008) – William Lane Craig
This book is intended to equip Christians with arguments to defend the Christian faith. “Apologetics” comes from the Greek word apologia which means “to defend”. Craig uses scientific, historical, and philosophical arguments to show that it is reasonable to believe in Christianity. While arguments may be used as tools to show the unbeliever the reasonableness of the Christian faith, he argues that it ultimately is the conviction of the Holy Spirit that affirms our faith.
I was first exposed to the book when I was in seminary taking a Christian Apologetics course. It is heavy reading and was hard for me to comprehend while trying to keep up with the class schedule and my other studies. Therefore, I have returned to read it leisurely allowing me to comprehend and enjoy it more.
Reasonable Faith can help the reader better understand why we believe in the existence of God, the historicity of Christ, and the miracle of His resurrection. But if these arguments fail to persuade anyone to the Christian faith, then it does not necessarily mean that the conclusions and the Christian faith are false. It simply means that the arguments may not be good enough or the defender is not capable enough to explain the arguments. Remember, it ultimately is the Holy Spirit that affirms our faith.
4. Culture Shift: The Battle for the Moral Heart of America (2011) – R. Albert Mohler
Mohler address cultural issues by applying Biblical Ethics to these issues. He takes concepts laid out in the Bible and shows how they can be applied to our culture today. For example, he talks about abortion, public school systems, and the digital deluge and how scripture teaches us how to remedy issues or glorify God through our culture.
Some of the things he says appear to come from his older, conservative, Republicanism, and I disagree with some of these points. Some might be good points, but are not necessarily Biblical. But he does soundly apply true Biblical ethics to our culture.
This is not a heave read like Reasonable Faith. In fact, most of his chapters are only a few pages long. He writes like a he’s speaking to you in person. Therefore, you don’t have to be a scholar in your ivory tower to understand and enjoy this book.
5. The Book with No Pictures (2014) – B.J. Novak
Yes, this is a children’s book. My first child was born this year. It is important to me that he enjoys reading and has an imagination. Sometimes digital media or even pictures can ruin this. This book helps children to enjoy reading for the sake of reading without distractions of sounds or pictures. This is a silly book that allows parent and child to interact and be silly helping families to bond. Just as I mention in my review, I recommend this book to parents that care about bonding with their children and helping their children enjoy reading.
What are some books you’ve read this year? Have you read any of these, and if so, what did you like or dislike about them? Comment below.
 I’m merely deducing this from some of the things he says. He may not agree with this description of himself.